About LPG

What is LPG?
ButaneLiquefied Petroleum Gas is the generic name for mixtures of hydrocarbons (mainly 60% propane and 40% butane). When these mixtures are lightly compressed (approx. 800 kPa or 120 psi), they change from a gaseous state to a liquid.

LPG is colourless, odourless and heavier than air. A chemical is added to give it a smell like rotten cabbage so that even a very small leak can be detected easily.

HeatingLPG burns readily in air and has an energy content similar to petrol and twice the heat energy of natural gas. This makes it an excellent fuel for heating, cooking and for automotive use (click here for a technical overview).

LPG is a liquid at atmospheric temperature if moderately compressed. It reverts to gas when the pressure is reduced sufficiently. LPG is relatively easy to transport and store as a liquid, in which it is roughly 250 times as dense as when it is a gas. This means a lot of energy can be stored in a relatively small volume.


Where do we get it?
LPG is produced from on and off-shore gas fields in Taranaki. Maui used to be the biggest domestic producer, but this field has now been superseded by Kupe, which will produce around 90,000 tonnes of LPG pa, some 56% of New Zealandís current annual LPG demand. Other current LPG fields are Kapuni, Waihapa and Rimu.

Another big field, Pohokura, could supply up to 200,000 tonnes pa in the future. LPG can also be imported as necessary from Australia, which exports some two million tonnes pa.

In addition, the exploration industry is actively drilling for more gas. Click here for a map of LPG-producing gasfields.

Unlike natural gas, LPG is available and used widely in both the North and South Island. In fact, Kiwis use almost 180,000 tonnes of it a year and demand is growing at over 7% annually.

LPG is primarily used for heating, water heating and cooking, in homes and businesses. Its use in these applications now displaces approximately 1,945GWh of electricity generation pa, which makes it an increasingly valuable energy asset. LPG is used as a ‘process fuel’ in industrial applications where it displaces less environmentally-friendly fuels like coal and fuel oil, and as a cleaner-burning vehicle fuel. It also powers the traditional barbecue and provides a heating and cooking source in boats and caravans.